There's a new way to select colors in Photoshop CS5 and that's using the new HUD Color Picker. HUD stands for Heads-up Display, which means an element that only appears when you invoke it. If you are a painter I think you are really going to like the HUD Color Picker because it's going to allow you to quickly choose color and to do so from within the context of the image. This color picker allows you to focus on the work without having to move to a separate panel or separate color picker when you want to change colors. But if you prefer, you can still use the traditional color picker which, as before, you access by clicking the Foreground color box in the toolbar.
To use the HUD Color Picker, you are first going to want to look at your Preferences which are under the Photoshop menu on a Mac or the Edit menu on Windows and in the General Preferences, you can choose the kind of HUD Color Picker you want to use. The default is the HUE Strip, there is also a Hue Wheel, and these other choices are basically different sizes of those two alternatives. Let's start with the Hue Strip. I will click OK. Here in the image to invoke the HUD Color Picker, I will first go to a Brush tool, any of the Brush type tools will do and then I will move into the image and I am going to hold down a keyboard shortcut.
On the Mac that's the Command key, the Option key and the Control key altogether. On the PC that's Shift+Alt+right-click all together. And with that shortcut held down, I will click in the image and hold. That brings up the Hue Strip color picker. This version of Photoshop like its predecessors recognizes three properties of color. The Hue, which is the color, the Saturation, which is the purity or intensity of that color, and the Brightness, which is the lightness or darkness of that color. The bar on the right is a Hue slider that you can use to access difference hues.
The square on the left displays different saturations of color from left to right and different brightnesses of color from top to bottom. When I talk about saturation and brightness, I will just call it all by one term, which is shade, because it is all here in this one part of this interface. So let's say that I want to choose a particular shade of blue. I still have my mouse held down and that keyboard shortcut held down and I am just going to move around in this large square until I get the shade that I want. Let's say I want kind of a dark desaturated shade like this.
And I still have the mouse and keyboard shortcuts held down because the next thing and I want to do is move over into the Hue Strip there. And in order to do that, I will release the keyboard shortcuts, but I will keep mouse held down and I will press the Spacebar. And then I can move over to the Hue Strip and release the Spacebar and I still have my mouse down. So, now I am clicking and dragging on this Hue Strip to get an aqua hue that's the same shade as the blue I had a moment ago. And when I am happy with it, I will release my mouse and that's the color that I have in the Foreground color box.
Now let's see how the Hue Wheel works. I am going to go back to Preferences and I am going to choose the Hue Wheel and click OK. Then I will move into the image, I will hold down the same keyboard shortcut Command+Option+Control on the Mac, Shift +Alt+right-click on Windows and I will click-and-hold in the image either with my mouse or with the stylus pen if I am using a pen in tablet. First take a look at the rings in this display. The inner ring, the one with the bright colors represent the various Hues, just like the Strip did on the right side of the Hue Strip display.
Around that is an inner and outer ring that represents the currently selected shade. I can release the keyboard shortcut and if I want a different shade of the same aqua hue, I can just move around in the square in the middle and as I do that noticed that the inner and outer parts of the ring are changing. So let's say I go for a light desaturated shade. Now I still have my mouse or my pen held down because the next thing I want to do is to move over to the inner ring in the circle so that I can change hues. And as before I am going to press the Spacebar to do that and then I can move my cursor to that inner ring, release the Spacebar and now I can move that ring around to get the hue that I want.
Say that I want magenta. So I am changing the hue, but I am keeping the same shading, a light de-saturated magenta. So I will release and you can see that color here in the Foreground color box. Now if you've used Photoshop for a while you may recognize the shortcut, Control+Option+Command or Shift+Alt+ right-click as a shortcut that was used for another purpose in Photoshop in previous versions. It was used to select a layer by clicking on its content in the document window. Be aware that that shortcut only works now with non-brush tools, like the Marquee tools, the Lasso tools and the Crop tool.
So that's a look at the new HUD Color Picker in Photoshop CS5. I think you speed painters are really going to like.
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